Worldbuilding is an important part of the planning or outlining stages for stories set in worlds, universes and realities that are different to our own. It can help to inform your story and setting and it can also help with characterisation. In fact, often in fantasy stories, the world the author has created becomes a character in itself.
Stories that are set in ‘the real world’ probably don’t need as much worldbuilding as a story set on an alien planet, a spaceship or in a fantastical, magical realm because people live in and generally understand the real world and how things work.
However, for science fiction or fantasy stories that are set in places like those I’ve mentioned above, you need to think about everything from the large-scale things like geography, government, and even theology, to the smaller scale stuff such as what the buildings are made of, what types of clothes the people wear and what kinds of food they eat.
A great way to go about building your story world is to create a ‘world bible’: a ring binder or folder where you can keep track of all the different categories and vast amounts of information you’ll need. (A good list to get you started can be found here).
I find that a ring binder is best, and I partition it with coloured pages of card (just because I’m more of a visual person, and the colour helps me to focus). Then I start to fill the binder with outlines of each category, and then I go further by writing fully detailed descriptions of every last thing I can think of about the world.
It’s more than likely that you won’t use all of that information. After all, it would be a little much to just dump all of it into your story, but just like with character creation, the more you as the writer know about your world, and the more you understand it, the better you’ll be able to describe it to your readers.
As always, thank you very much for reading, I really do appreciate your valuable time.
Until next time,